Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

J.C. Penney Names Tighe Chief Merchant, Replacing Sweney

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J.C. Penney Co. promoted John Tighe to chief merchant, succeeding Elizabeth Sweney, as the department-store chain works to accelerate sales growth.

Tighe most recently served as senior vice president and senior general merchandise manager for the men’s, children’s, footwear, handbag and intimate-apparel divisions, the Plano, Texas-based company said Wednesday in a statement. Sweney, who has been with J.C. Penney for 16 years, will serve as an adviser through the end of the fiscal year, then retire from the company.

The chief merchant switch, effective Oct. 1, is the first major management move under Chief Executive Officer Marvin Ellison, who took the reins last month. Ellison is working boost sales growth by improving customer service and better connecting stores to the web.

J.C. Penney fell 0.1 percent to $9.37 at the close in New York trading. The shares have gained 45 percent this year.